Advertising, Subjectivity and the Nineteenth-Century Novel: by S. Thornton

By S. Thornton

From 1830 to 1870 advertisements introduced in its wake a brand new realizing of the way the topic learn and the way language operated. Sara Thornton offers a very important second in print tradition, the early popularity of what we now name a 'virtual' global, and proposes new readings of key texts by way of Dickens and Balzac.

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Extra info for Advertising, Subjectivity and the Nineteenth-Century Novel: Dickens, Balzac and the Language of the Walls

Sample text

If all of this were so, then manipulation and derangement were now possible: experience could be produced for the subject, who was now merely a surface of inscription on which a whole range of effects could be made. 62 The study of after-images brought in its wake the invention of optical devices. Initially these were for scientific experiment, but they soon became popular toys. 64 The panorama and diorama are mentioned and joked about by the pensionnaires in the Vauqueur boarding house in Balzac’s Le père Goriot (1834) well before the revolutions in street spectacle which the Haussmann project would bring.

J. L. Toole will − PUNCH every Wednesday – the Rev. Dr. ’74 What we find is that the advertisers themselves picked up on the unpredictable fate of the physical medium of language – paper and ink and their vulnerability to weather or to defacement or to the whimsical readings and inattentions of passers-by – and from this formed an understanding of language’s sliding, shifting nature and used it to effect in their own copy. 75 This example reveals an appreciation of the power of chance manipulations, such jokes often providing an échappatoire for unacceptable feelings such as violence or sexual desire.

70 Literary quotations are thus shown to serve the commodity, bringing together the sublime and the ridiculous. It is nowhere better done than in an article entitled ‘The Puff Poetical’ of the 1860s which appears on the same page as ‘Another Shakespearian’ and invents its own series of advertisements which play on the same absurdities of juxtaposition. Puffery as the art of The Language of the Walls 25 puffing up a product by means of inflated language is here used to create a spoof advertisement to mock the use of high culture in advertising.

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